Ron Marinucci - January, 2019 Column
by Ron Marinucci, Jan. 9, 2019
Happy 2019! Here’s wishing a healthy and prosperous year for everyone.
As December rolled around a few weeks ago, I noticed something that jars me every year at about the same time. I was nearly at the end of my training log for 2018. That led me to ask, as I now always do, “Where did that year go?”
Tempus Fugit! Time flies. Yes, it does and entering the last month of my running numbers in my journal proved it.
A training log. Or journal. Or record. Call it what you will. (Doug Kurtis, the great Michigan marathoner, called the record of his marathons his “Runography.”) It’s a diary of sorts for runners. My
log is an important part of my running life.
A running journal can be what you want it to be. It can be as simple as recording the distances
of daily runs. But it might also be far more involved. The physical log will likely depend on what you
decide to include in your record.
Ready-made runners’ logs can be purchased from under $10 to well over $20 or so. Other items
can be used, too. Some runners prefer bigger daily planners. There are online logs, too. At one time, as
an inducement to subscribe or renew, Runner’s World offered a convenient log; I don’t know if it still
does, but I liked it.
I vary in what I use. 2018’s journal was a diary, “Runner’s Day-by-Day Logbook,” that was pretty
comprehensive, allowing for a wide variety of information to be recorded. I used very little of the space.
For 2019, a pocket planner from Michael’s dentist’s office will do the trick. I may have to write pretty
small in include all I might want on some days, but on the overwhelming majority of days it will work just
fine for me.
My journal is usually pretty simple and takes just a minute or two to complete each day after my
run and other workouts. I write the distance, denoting “Walk” if that’s what I did. Otherwise, I know I
ran that day. In the warmer months when I bike (Well, last year I rode a few days after Christmas!), I
record “Bike” followed by the distance. If I weight train on a day, I simply put “Lift” or “Bench.” And I
include “Yoga” when I take classes.
Perhaps oddly, I also enter other physical activities, though again simply. For snow shoveling I’ll
put “Shovel,” with the number of inches next to it. If Michael helps, I record his name. Mowing the
lawn is recorded as “Mow Front” or “Mow Back,” depending on which Michael does as we split the
Generally that’s it. If I run a particular workout, I might write, for instance, “Hills X 6” or “Long
Fartleks.” I may put “Good w/o” if it was particularly good and even note some not-so-good runs.
Fortunately, there are very few “Ughs!,” which is how I briefly record them. Sometimes, but not always,
I might put “PLT,” which tells me I ran the Proud Lake Trails. Sometimes, but not always, I might note
extreme weather, e.g., “Snow 5-6 inches” or “Windy.” I’m fortunate in that I haven’t been, in 44 years
of running (other than chasing, hitting, catching, throwing, or shooting a ball), injured very often. So, I
rarely record any aches/pains since I don’t have them.
If I run out of town, I will cite something like “LV” when I visit Matt in Las Vegas or “SC” when I
go to see Ashley and Codester in South Carolina.
Again, if I write small enough, I can get all this in the space for one day. But on most days, it’s
just mileage (run and bike), lifting, and yoga. There is ample room for that.
Back when I raced once a month or more often, I’d set aside a page or two at the back of my log
to record races: dates, distances, and times. Now, though, I race only a couple of times a year and no
longer record races.
I keep weekly and monthly totals, for both running and cycling, but I’m not obsessive about the
numbers. At the end of the year I tally the totals and record them in my new journal and, in fact, record
the previous five or six years’ mileage figures in comparison.
Of course, other runners want more and for good reasons. The roomier journals or bigger daily
planners provide for that. So do some of the online logs I have seen. A variety of information, much
more than I need or want, can be included. These might be waking heart rate and running heart rate,
weight pre- and post-run, twinges or aches, temperature and humidity, time of day, which route was
run, shoes that were worn, pace, and more. Some include room for comments, presumably from you,
Keeping such a journal can be fun. Going back weeks or months or very many years to see what
was going on in your running life then is enjoyable. For me, going back in time often evokes chuckles, “I
did what?” I like to read that I ran when it was more than 100 degrees or less than 10 degrees below
zero outside, usually bringing a “That was crazy!” comment. I have logs back for 40+ years, although for
some unknown reason, I can’t find the one for 2014.
But there are other uses for logs. Sometimes, knowing that, if you don’t get out there, you’ll
have to record a “Zero” for that day is inducement enough for a run you’ll more than likely appreciate.
Journals can help provide consistency with your running and help map out a training plan for a race
distance you have targeted. In that regard, a log can provide a history of what worked or perhaps didn’t
work in a previous training period. Journals can help pinpoint reasons for injuries, too.
If you already keep a journal, you know what I’ve been writing about. If you’ve never tried one,
give it a shot. A log can provide added benefits to your running program.